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Elections on Feb 08: President Alvi

Ansar M Bhatti

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja Thursday agreed that the general elections will be staged in the country on February 8, 2024.

The development came after an ECP delegation headed by CEC Raja and Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan met Alvi at the President’s Secretariat to discuss the poll date, a statement from Alvi’s office said.

Sources privy to this development said that a consensus was reached with the help of the Attorney General of Pakistan. The Chief Election Commission, when met the President, handed over to him the written letter in which the ECP had proposed February 8 as the election date. The ECP delegation left the Presidency after handing over the letter.

Then the President consulted his legal team and decided to propose February 08 as the election date. The Attorney General conveyed the President message to the ECP and after AG’s efforts the Election Commission decided to agree to the date proposed by the President.

The ECP — in today’s Supreme Court hearing of petitions calling for timely polls across the country — had told the top court that polls would be held on February 11, but the SC asked the commission to consult with the president.

Following the consensus, AGP Awan and CEC Raja will inform the top court about the decision.

The court — in the order issued after the hearing — had instructed the AGP to arrange the meeting between ECP and Alvi, provide the president with the court order, and be available to render assistance.

“We expect that the matter of appointing a date for holding general elections shall be settled, and this court will be informed tomorrow (Friday),” the top court said in the order.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the three major political parties of the country, had welcomed the ECP announcement that elections in the country will take place on February 11, 2024.

Welcoming the ECP’s announcement, PPP’s Nayyer Bukhari has said that his party has been calling for holding timely elections.

“Unelected individual or cabinet do not have right to rule the country… the elections should have been held within 90 days as per the Constitution,” he said while speaking to Geo News.

PML-N senior leader Ayaz Sadiq welcomed the announcement saying that it’s a positive development and that the process to hold elections has commenced.However, he said fixing date polls is the mandate of the ECP.

PTI lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar had termed the SC proceedings as “histori” as ambiguity regarding the polls ended with it.

“Someone said the polls will be staged while someone said polls will not be staged. It was a worrisome situation,” the senator said while talking to media after the SC hearing

Zafar said that the SC made it clear that the elections were supposed to be staged within 90 days of the dissolution of assemblies.

He then called on the ECP to release an election schedule as per the Constitution after consultation with President Arif Alvi as directed by the court. The good news of elections has been received after a long time, he added.

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